Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (97.08 MB)

Intensifying the Grid: A Typology for Medium Density Housing to Accommodate the Changing Demography of Wellington Suburbs

Download (97.08 MB)
posted on 2021-11-12, 10:21 authored by Stiles, Rose

The combination of an increasing population, changing demographics and an ageing housing stock is driving the need for new and more varied housing types. Attempts to address these concerns have been less than satisfactory, leading to urban sprawl and the destruction of neighbourhood character. Residential intensification is a way of providing new housing while preserving both Wellington's compact urban form and open space. This thesis explores a process to increase housing density in the inner suburbs without a loss of urban form and character. Developed through design led research, the study first identifies those neighbourhoods most suited for intensification as Wellington's historic gridded suburbs. A representative street is then selected, and a strategy for integrating medium-density housing is developed. It then applies the principles in two multi-unit developments to address modern concerns with enhanced liveability and improved connection with private outdoor space. By manipulating the buildings in plan and section, complex internal configurations are possible, resulting in different sizes and types of dwellings, which accommodates varied demographic groups and household sizes. Through the elevation, the designs are then integrated into the local character of the site by reinterpreting the street's context in a contemporary manner. The design resolution was reached through a cyclical process, developing and being tested incrementally. The general principles of the design can be extrapolated and applied to other Wellington gridded neighbourhoods. They can also be applied to other locations with similar urban morphology in other New Zealand and Australian cities.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Brand, Diane; McIntosh, Jacqueline